Artist Spotlight, film, Jazz, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Jaco Pastorius: Great Musician, Sad End

Posted January 27, 2016 by | 3 Comments

“My name is Jaco Pastorius and I’m the greatest bass player in the world.” This was the way Jaco introduced himself to Joe Zawinul, Weather Report founder and übermensch.  Zawinul was abrupt and dismissive: “f#*k off” was his reply. Then Pastorius played a solo fretless bass version of Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee.” Just as abruptly, Zawinul changed his opinion, and soon Pastorius was a …

Music History, music phenomena »

Musical DNA Goes Everywhere Today

Posted January 25, 2016 by | 0 Comments

James Brown’s 1968 hit “Say it Out Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud” not only became a #1 R&B hit, the anthem for the Black Power movement, but also inspired new pride among countless Africans in newly-independent nations that had just become free of colonial power.  Hits like this were heard via the Voice of America radio, which broadcast from Gibraltar throughout Africa with …

Jazz, Music History, Performances & Events »

Dr. Martin Luther King and His Regard for Jazz Music

Posted January 18, 2016 by | 0 Comments

We know that Dr. King loved gospel music, the music of Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the Swan Silvertones and other great artists.  Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba marched with him. What is maybe less known is his high regard for jazz.
On this MLK Day, I want to share an excerpt from something he wrote for the Berlin Jazz Festival in 1964.
“God has wrought …

Artist Spotlight, film, Interviews, MBE Archive, Music History »

The Amazing Nina Simone: Great Film Doc from Jeff L. Lieberman

Posted January 13, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Nina Simone’s music has been part of my life for a long time, and I’m sure her other fans share this love with me. Her many albums show many different sides of her multifaceted talent and personality: her reluctance to entering the pop-jazz world; her limited vocal range counterpointed with her perfect pitch and ability to deliver emotion; her amazing piano playing and love …

Jazz, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #140: Spiritual Jazz: The Roots

Posted January 8, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington has been getting a lot of attention for his Wagnerian-sized 3 cd set, The Epic. He is drawing a different audience among young people who maybe weren’t even that into jazz…his appeal is something different, and harkens back to other trendsetters back in the 1960s and 1970s, musicians that Washington’s young audience might have missed out on.
I’ll call …

Music History »

Are Cassettes Coming Back? Really?

Posted December 28, 2015 by | 0 Comments

I just read an op-ed article in the New York Times last Thursday, December 24, about singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado releasing her new album on cassette. Did I hear that right? Yes, cassette. The article mentions that Furtado has sold more than 20 million singles-interesting that it doesn’t say “albums”, which reflects the atomization of music in the iTunes age.
This is nostalgia at its most absurd. …

Artist Spotlight, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

Holly Woodlawn, Theresa, & Early Days, Late Nights @ KCRW

Posted December 14, 2015 by | 0 Comments

Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She said, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side,
Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side.
So go the lyrics to Lou Reed’s famous song, “Walk on the Wild Side”.  The Holly here was Holly …

Artist Spotlight, Holiday, Jazz, Music History, New Releases »

Christmas 2015: 17 Choice Stocking Stuffers

Posted December 9, 2015 by | 0 Comments

There are plenty of nice goodies out there this holiday season for your music-loving friends.   Here are some of my recommendations for the bigger-ticket items:
Blue Note:  Photos by Francis Wolff:   If you love jazz music, graphic design, or just great music photography, this is a must-get.  Five stars.
Sam Phillips:  The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll:  While …

Jazz, Music History, Performances & Events »

Cannonball Adderley’s 1963 Classic Nippon Soul: Jazz as Musical Ambassador

Posted December 2, 2015 by | 1 Comment

I recently pulled out my lp copy of Nippon Soul, the first live concert by American jazzmen in Tokyo, recorded there July 14 & 15th, 1963 in Sankei Hall. This is second post I’m doing on the lp–something rare for me–but the album is so great I have to mention it again. It’s also a good live recording, much better than the Capitol live …

Music History »

The Power of Music on the Brain

Posted November 25, 2015 by | 1 Comment
Dr. Oliver Sacks

Last night I pulled out an old vinyl copy of a beautiful symphony by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams: his symphony No. 5, composed and first performed in 1943.  Listening to a whole symphony on an old vinyl record is like slow food: you don’t usually have time to do it, but when you do it is very satisfying, a real luxury.
No. 5 is …

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